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Posts in category 'Ethnography'

6 September 2013

Four new papers by anthropologist Brigitte Jordan

brigittejordan

Brigitte Jordan, the legendary corporate anthropologist, once described as one of the “godmothers” of design ethnography, has posted four new papers on her website:

The Double Helix of Learning: Knowledge Transfer in Traditional and Techno-Centric Communities
Draft. Comments appreciated.
In this paper I formulate a new, integrated theory of learning and show how it plays itself out in three distinct learning ecologies: the ethno-obstetric practices of Yucatec Maya village midwives, the operations room of a U.S. airline where ground operations are coordinated, and a set of global industrial factories where silicon wafers are processed into computer chips. I do this in order to argue that since time immemorial, consistently and continuously, two kinds of knowledge and skill acquisition have existed that are exercised to varying degrees in those settings in a constant process of mutual adjustment, suggesting that they have co-existed with different kinds of balance and legitimization throughout history and across societies. I provide evidence that the ancient, experiential, immersion-based kind of learning is massively present in high-tech industrial workplaces, and suggest that it will be increasingly useful and recognized as valuable as the world moves into the digital age.

Dancing with Tools: How Technologies Have Shaped Society and Vice Versa
Anthropology News (March/April): 54:3-4:6-7.
We have been in bed with tools from the beginning. Every societal advance that we can trace or imagine has involved an intimate interplay between tools and social formations in the making. Now, at a time when the world is crying out for tools that help manage the uncertainties of globalization, automation and the digital revolution, we should consider what we can learn from the millions of years our ancestors have been engaged in making (and living with) tools not only for making things, but also for making sense of the world. – See more at: http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2013/02/07/dancing-with-tools-2/#sthash.AzzPsHfU.dpuf

Advancing Ethnography in Corporate Environments: Challenges and Emerging Opportunities
Walnut Creek, CA. Left Coast Press
In this innovative volume, twelve leading scholars from corporate research labs and independent consultancies tackle the most fundamental and contentious issues in corporate ethnography. Organized in pairs of chapters in which two experts consider different sides of an important topic, these provocative encounters go beyond stale rehearsals of method and theory to explore the entanglements that practitioners wrestle with on a daily basis. The discussions are situated within the broader universe of ethnographic method and theory, as well as grounded in the practical realities of using ethnography to solve problems in the business world. The book represents important advances in the field and is ideal for students and scholars as well as for corporate practitioners and decision makers.
The linked file contains the book’s introduction by Brigitte Jordan, who is also the editor of the book.

Pattern Recognition in Human Evolution and Why It Matters for Ethnography, Anthropology and Society
Chapter 12, Pp. 193-213 in: Advancing Ethnography in Corporate Environments: Challenges and Emerging Opportunities, Brigitte Jordan, ed. Walnut Creek, CA. Left Coast Press
This final chapter [of the same book referenced above] is concerned with a world that has been irrevocably changed by the arrival of the Internet and the massive amounts of data its affordances have generated. It speaks to issues that are of fundamental concern for all of us who are thinking about where we are coming from and where we are going, given that we find ourselves in a present that experiences unprecedented changes in the material and symbolic environments in which we live, facing an uncertain future, and, significantly, coming from a more or less unexamined past that goes back several million years. What do these versions of the world have to do with each other? Why are we “we” and “here,” and not “something other” or “somewhere else”?
We are concerned then with a number of wide-ranging issues, from the basic existential questions that confront society today to specific questions about the role of anthropology and ethnography in a world of ever-increasing complexity.
This chapter attempts to build a case for the significance of evolution for ethnography as a methodology, for anthropology as a discipline, and, in the end, for the future of our society.

28 August 2013

Ethnographic stories for market learning

cover

The July 2013 issue of the Journal of Marketing (a publication of AMA, the American Marketing Association) describes the results of a comprehensive study (pdf) by Julian Cayla and Eric J. Arnould on the way various organizations use ethnography to better represent the customer’s lived experience to managers.

The authors’ findings highlight how in many leading firms, ethnographic stories play a creatively disruptive role in: 1) challenging firms’ received wisdom about consumer behavior; 2) helping managers walk in the customer’s shoes; and 3) developing new business ideas.

In these three areas (market understanding; consumer empathy; market innovation), ethnographic storytelling has been a driving force in improving the tracking of market evolution, changing the way organizations connect with consumers, and stimulating innovative thinking.

“Although ethnography has become a popular research approach in many organizations, major gaps exist in the field’s understanding of the way it operates in the corporate world, particularly in how ethnography facilitates market learning. Drawing from extensive fieldwork in the world of commercial ethnography, the authors describe how ethnographic stories give executives a unique means of understanding market realities. By working through the rich details of ethnographic stories infused with the tensions, contradictions, and emotions of people’s everyday lives, executives are better able to grasp the complexity of consumer cultures. Overall, this research should help managers leverage the catalytic effects of ethnographic storytelling in their efforts to learn about and understand market contexts.”

Julien Cayla is Assistant Professor of Marketing, Nanyang Business School; Research Fellow at the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight; and Visiting Professor, Euromed Management. Eric J. Arnould is Professor of Marketing, University of Bath, and Visiting Adjunct Professor, Southern Denmark University.

7 August 2013

An object of journalism: the hyperlink

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Juliette de Maeyer kicks off this month’s edition of EthnographyMatters which focuses on Ethnographies of Objects, with a response to two questions posed to her: ‘Why is the hyperlink an interesting object of journalism?’ And ‘What’s the best way to approach this object methodologically?’

Her work on hyperlinks is a fascinating exploration of materiality, stubbornness and methods for trailing the object.

6 August 2013

Making the most of ethnographic research

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Applying ethnographic methods to digital experiences can yield myriad benefits that go beyond simply validating that something works or identifying opportunities for improvement, write Jessica Weber and John Cheng of AnswerLab.

Ethnography reveals how digital and physical processes work together to help businesses address gaps and focus on the entire customer experience. Anyone who has done ethnographic research can attest to its value, and to how expensive and time-consuming it can be. That’s why it’s critical to reduce the risk of investing in it. The investment does pay off, and this article presents five techniques to help ensure to make the most of this investment and reap the many rewards ethnography delivers.

1 August 2013

EthnographyMatters on ethnography and education

 

This month’s edition of EthnographyMatters is dedicated to education. Says editor Morgan G. Ames, “ethnography is unique in being able to dig below the surface and uncover the complicated processes and contingent effects of education and education reform.”

Some personal highlights:

Why digital inequality scholarship needs ethnography
by Christo Sims, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California, San Diego
Ethnography of a technology-focused public school in New York that inexplicably had many of its less advantaged students transfer out. With his research, Christo was able to say why this was happening and what it means for other efforts for digital inclusion.

Interactive eBooks and reading comprehension – I’ll meet you there
by Sheila Frye, literacy innovation researcher
Research on interactive eBooks, which promote active reading habits – a crucial part of literacy – to children who may not learn this skill otherwise. Sheila uses ethnography to take a close look at both the benefits and the potential drawbacks of interactive eBooks.

Interview with Mizuko ‘Mimi’ Ito
Interview of education, ethnography, and digital inclusion with Mizuko ‘Mimi’ Ito. Mimi has some impressive experience with the topics covered this month: she is the Research Director at the Digital Media and Learning Hub, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning, and a Professor in Anthropology and Informatics at UC Irvine (after getting two PhDs from Stanford).

19 July 2013

The implications of Agile for UX

frog-family

Anthropologist Natalie Hanson has written a series of blog posts regarding Agile methods and the implications for user experience work.

Recognizing Agile
List of the top ways to know you’re working in an Agile environment

A brief overview of Agile
Background on what Agile is and the conditions under which it emerged

Principles and practices of Agile
The basics of Agile.

Implications for Researchers
Specific examples about ways that researchers can engage at each of the major stages in the development lifecycle of a software product.

25 June 2013

The culture of borrowing and debt: an ethnographic approach

Shelter_in_Hands-_Web

What are people’s philosophy and attitudes toward loans and debt? And how financial marketers can respond to their basic emotional needs in the lending process?

Americans have a complicated relationship with debt, one that defies easy analysis. That’s why a pair of researchers from Filene, a credit union think tank, chose to study the subject using ethnographic models.

Filene’s report, “The Culture of Borrowing and Debt: An Ethnographic Approach,” set out to tackle two overarching issues: how consumers relate to borrowing and debt, and how financial marketers can respond to those basic borrowing needs. With that in mind, Filene used the following eight questions to guide its research project:

  1. What are people’s philosophy and attitudes toward money, borrowing, and debt?
  2. Does the average consumer understand the loan process, from considering whether to borrow, to obtaining a loan and paying it off?
  3. What is the language consumers use to discuss borrowing and loans?
  4. What are the influences and influencers around borrowing and taking loans?
  5. Who do consumers trust in the lending process, and what creates this trust?
  6. What forms of financial education work and what doesn’t? What can be done to improve consumer understanding of the lending process?
  7. How do members perceive the value of credit union membership?
  8. What is the customer lending experience? What works, what doesn’t, and what needs to be changed?
25 June 2013

Understanding human behaviour: taking a more complex approach

People resting on steps at Piazzale Michelangelo above Arno River and Florence near sunset

Large-scale surveys are useful but if we are serious about changing behaviours, we must use every tool to understand human complexity, writes Steven Johnson in the Sustainable Business section of The Guardian. Ethnographic approaches allow us to observe consumer behaviour as it happens naturally, rather than retrospectively discussing it in research setting.

“Recent advances in behavioural economics, cognitive neuroscience, network theory and social psychology more generally have overturned our common sense understanding of human behaviour. The rational, autonomous, self-aware agent acting in his own self-interest according to static preferences has faded as we realise that behaviour is largely irrational, unconscious and driven by external contexts. Ladies and gentleman, Homo economicus has left the building. […]

If we are to deliver on our ambitions to empower new consumer behaviours, it is essential that we listen to the science and go beyond the limitations of traditional self-reporting research methodologies as a source of insight. As I have worked to incorporate these new perspectives into my own work over recent years, the emphasis has shifted towards bespoke approaches based on ethnographic and co-creation principles.”

This is the first in a 5-part series of posts based on Steven Johnson’s upcoming book, ‘Considered Creative‘. Steven Johnson is an independent writer, speaker and consultant specialising in behaviour change and sustainability.

6 June 2013

Experientia presentation at EPIC London

epic2013

EPIC, the premier international gathering on the current and future practice of ethnography in the business world, just announced the program of its upcoming conference in London (15-18 September) and Experientia is proud to announce that it will be presenting a paper on Monday 16 September.

The paper is entitled “The changing face of healthcare. Using ethnographic methods in dynamic, complex environments” and will be presented by Experientia researchers Anna Wojnarowska and Gina Taha. Together they will discuss an international ethnographic research project that explored the role and impact of mobile devices, particularly tablet computers within healthcare environments in China, England, Germany and the USA.

“The healthcare industry is undergoing significant transition through new technology, rapidly evolving patient and medical practitioner expectations and new challenges and opportunities related to privacy and security. Within this context, the holistic understandings delivered by ethnographic insights are vital for any project seeking to understand the complex intermingled systems of business, service, practice, and technology, and to develop solutions for environments such as hospitals and healthcare centres. This paper will discuss an international ethnographic research project that explored the role and impact of mobile devices, particularly tablet computers within healthcare environments in China, England, Germany and the USA. In addition to the outcomes regarding tablet use, the project also identified important considerations for using ethnographic methods in healthcare environments, and highlighted why a thorough understanding of the organisational and cultural contexts of use and behaviours is particularly vital when designing for this industry. Moreover, strong collaboration between internal company divisions and, more broadly, between the client and the user experience research consultancy enabled a multidisciplinary approach towards the research and the analysis and provided actionable results, understandable by the broad audience of stakeholders and internal employees involved in the implementation process.”

Keynote speakers at EPIC 2013 are Genevieve Bell (anthropologist and Intel Fellow), David Howers (anthropologist, Concordia University, Montreal), Daniel Miller (Professor of Material Culture at the Department of Anthropology, University College London) and Tricia Wang (global tech ethnographer).

1 June 2013

Papers about sense-making and ethnotelling

 

From the Journal of Information Architecture:

Sense-making in Cross-channel Design
Jon Fisher (Nomensa), Simon Norris (Nomensa), and Elizabeth Buie (Luminanze Consulting)
Successful cross-channel user experiences rely upon a strong informational layer that creates understanding amongst users of a service. This pervasive information layer helps users form conceptual models about how the overall experience works (irrespective of the channel in which they reside). This paper explores the early development of a practical framework for the creation of meaningful cross-channel information architectures or “architectures of meaning“. We explore the strategic roles that individual channels can play as well as the different factors that can degrade a user‘s understanding within a cross-channel user experience.

Ethnotelling for User-generated Experiences
Raffaele Boiano, Fondazione Enasarco
This paper focuses on storytelling as a research tool for the social sciences, especially for cultural anthropology. After a short review of the main methodological tools traditionally used in ethnography, with particular regard to observation and interview, we focus on collecting and crafting stories (ethnotelling) as suitable tools for conveying the relational nature of fieldwork. Drawing on the works of Orr, Chipchase, Marradi and Adwan/Bar-on, we show how stories — collected, mediated or made up — are valuable tools for representing experiences and identities. As a result, we suggest a different approach to user-experience design, based on the creation of “thick” environments enabling a whole range of possibilities, where users can imagine or live their own user-generated experiences.

31 May 2013

How Obama used ‘Ethnography Project’ to defeat Mitt Romney in 2012

FE_DA_130430ObamaConference620x413

Ken Walsh reports on how Team Obama made an unprecedented effort to understand the voters and speak their language, slicing and dicing the electorate with a sophistication and savvy that the Republicans couldn’t match and are still scrambling to replicate.

“The Obama team’s opinion research was led by Joel Benenson, a tough-minded pollster from New York. […]

In 2012, he succeeded, largely because the depth of his research was so extraordinary. Benenson says his goal as a pollster is “to understand the hidden architecture of opinion” and to “probe deeply into the underlying values and attitudes that shape how people are viewing the issues of the day and the content of their lives.”

One way that Benenson set the Obama campaign apart was through the ethnography project. It was designed as a deep dive into the world of everyday Americans not only to clarify their views on politics but to find insights into their “daily lives,” Benenson told me.

After the responses [to an online questionnaire] were analyzed, nine voters were chosen from among the participants in each of the three states, and they were further divided into groups of three, or “triads.” At that point, detailed interviews were conducted to learn even more about them as individuals.

They were questioned, for example, about their routines, their families, their concerns about the present and their hopes and fears about the future. Each of these sessions lasted about 2 1/2 hours. They were also asked whether Obama deserved to be re-elected, and why.

Benenson says this information, compiled into what he calls “ethno-journals,” was combined with the results of many regular opinion polls and focus groups. The ethnography project produced 1,400 pages of transcripts and data.”

27 May 2013

BBC on exploring and enhancing the TV user experience

tvux

The BBC’s R&D department has been working on how to exploit the interactive functionality now available through connected televisions through a number of projects under themes such as companion screens, authentication, Internet of Things, recommendation services, accessibility and so on.

On Saturday 27th April, at the Universite Paris Dauphine, the team co-chaired a day-long workshop called ‘Exploring and Enhancing the User Experience for Television’ (TVUX).

Check out the Workshop Wiki for a treasure throve of position papers.

27 May 2013

Social networks of mobile money in Kenya

imtfi

Social networks of mobile money in Kenya
Sibel Kusimba, Harpieth Chaggar, Elizabeth Gross, & Gabriel Kunyu
Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion
University of California, Irvine

With mobile money technologies, people use mobile phones to send money to friends and relatives, connect to bank accounts, and make payments. This research examines the role of mobile money in Kenyans’ social and economic networks. Research reported was conducted in Bungoma and Trans-Nzoia Counties in Kenya, and among Kenyans living in Chicago, Illinois in the summer of 2012.

Although mobile money services are often described as a form of “banking,” most users in Western Kenya use mobile money as a social and economic tool through which they create relationships by sending money and airtime gifts. A wide range of mobile money uses includes social gifting, assisting friends and relatives, organizing savings groups, and contributing to ceremonies and rituals.

Even though mobile money was designed for person-to-person transfers, its practices are best understood as created by collectivities and groups. In savings groups, groups of siblings and other relatives, and communities who contribute to ceremonies, users “save with others” through the entrustment of value to kin and friends and create new groups and communities based around the “floating world” of mobile technology. Individuals balance their social and economic capital in order to create marginal gains and mediate the conflicts created between social obligations and personal economic betterment. Ties to and through mothers are prominent in social networks of mobile money flows. Matrilineal kinship ties are a means of sharing or circulating money among those marginalized from access to other resources and forms of value.

24 May 2013

Interview: “Hosting Todd Harple, INTEL Experience Engineer at ITC-ILO”.

todd

Some time ago, we suggested to Todd Harple, an anthropologist at Intel, to consider doing his 10 week sabbatical here in Turin at the International Training Center of the International Labor Organization (a United Nations structure).

His sabbatical is now coming to an end and our friends at ITC-ILO have now published an interview with Todd.

24 May 2013

Big Data needs Thick Data

triciawang

In the wake of Big Data, ethnographers can offer thick data, says Tricia Wang. In the face of the derisive mention of “anecdotes”, we ought to stand up to defend the value of stories.

“Lacking the conceptual words to quickly position the value of ethnographic work in the context of Big Data, I have begun, over the last year, to employ the term Thick Data to advocate for integrative approaches to research. Thick Data uncovers the meaning behind Big Data visualization and analysis.

Thick Data analysis primarily relies on human brain power to process a small “N” while big data analysis requires computational power (of course with humans writing the algorithms) to process a large “N”. Big Data reveals insights with a particular range of data points, while Thick Data reveals the social context of and connections between data points. Big Data delivers numbers; thick data delivers stories. Big data relies on machine learning; thick data relies on human learning. […]

Thick Data is the best method for mapping unknown territory. When organizations want to know what they do not already know, they need Thick Data because it gives something that Big Data explicitly does not—inspiration. The act of collecting and analyzing stories produces insights.

When organizations want to know what they do not already know, they need Thick Data because it gives something that Big Data explicitly does not—inspiration. The act of collecting and analyzing stories produces insights.
Stories can inspire organizations to figure out different ways to get to the destination—the insight. If you were going to drive, Thick Data is going to inspire you to teleport. Thick Data often reveals the unexpected. It will frustrate. It will surprise. But no matter what, it will inspire. Innovation needs to be in the company of imagination.”

10 May 2013

Very successful launch of Experientia’s Talking Design lecture series

 


Talking Design - Todd Harple

Click on image to view slideshow

On Wednesday evening about 20 guests and 30 Experientia staff maxed out our little conference room to attend our very first Talking Design lecture and listen to Intel anthropologist Todd Harple, who spoke about why design and social sciences need each other, now more than ever (see also links below).

The “Talking Design” guest speaker evenings are part of our drive to bring the design world to Turin. Harple inaugurated what we plan to make a long series of talks from global experts in the industry, who will share their experiences and knowledge with the staff and friends of Experientia.

A good aperitivo afterwards (a much lauded Piedmont tradition!) allowed for informal conversation and networking.

Todd Harple, who has a PhD in anthropology, is an Experience Engineer and Strategist at Intel Corporation, and is currently on sabbatical at the International Training Centre of the ILO in Turin.

We will soon let you know about the second speaker in the series, and the location (which we may have to change, due to the success of our first talk). We also plan to video record the next talk so that we can post the lecture series also online.

Here are the links Todd provided yesterday to some background reading on the topics that he addressed during his talk:

On the heritage of design in craft
Book “Design Methods: Seeds of Human Futures“, by J. Christopher Jones

For a great review of ethnography in design and implications:
Article “Implications for Design” by Paul Dourish

See Eric Dishman tell his inspirational story of data and health care as team sport:
TED Talk “Healthcare should be a team sport” by Eric Dishman

Check out CIA’s Challenges with Big Data (and notions of ownership):
GigaOM talk “The CIA’s Grand Challenges with Big Data” by Ira “Gus” Hunt, CTO of the CIA

Andersen’s notion that Big Data heralds The End of Theory discussed last night:
Article “The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete” by Chris Anderson

Kate Crawford on The Hidden Biases in Big Data that we discussed last night
Article

Controversy over Google Glass we discussed last night
Article “Google Glass Picks Up Early Signal: Keep Out” by David Streitfeld in The New York Times

Will Google Glass have same effect as Bentham’s Panopticon?

Join the discussion about responsibly managing Big Data #wethedata

6 May 2013

Tweeting Minarets: joining quantitative and qualitative research methodologies

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In the last post of the EthnographyMatters Ethnomining edition (edited by Nicolas Nova), David Ayman Shamma @ayman gives a personal perspective on mixed methods. Based on the example of data produced by people of Egypt who stood up against then Egyptian president and his party in 2011, he advocates for a comprehensive approach for data analysis beyond the “Big Data vs the World” situation we seem to have reached. In doing so, his perspective complements the previous posts by showing the richness of ethnographic data in order to deepen quantitative findings.

“Discovering how communities organize, grow, and communicate under times of distress is difficult even when technology hasn’t been cut. While many things surfaced on Twitter during the revolution, like the Hardees in Tahrir being used as a safe house, many questions were left unexplained or assumed to be the work of online social networking.

This is where ethnography matters–by surfacing what to look for in the big data and highlighting what might be salient trends and features despite not being dominant. And mostly, by identifying people’s motivations and giving a deeper understanding of why things happen. From there we can start to unravel the complex communication structures at play and define new metrics informed by human action. The effort is ongoing, as we surface what has been done and what we now know through, it still says we don’t know.

It’s not a race, it’s a partnership, a marriage. The goal isn’t to get to the end as quickly as possible but rather to work together over time and build a richer world. We should strive to find these links between the quantitative and qualitative, and leave the silos which have us fragmented as a research community.”

David Ayman Shamma is a research scientist in the Internet Experiences group at Yahoo! Research for which he designs and evaluates systems for multimedia-mediated communication.

25 April 2013

Steampunking interaction design and other Interaction Magazine articles

IAX20.3_Cover

Interactions Magazine is no longer the influential voice in the interaction design community that it used to be a few years ago. Lots of the reason why has to do with the fact that the bulk of the articles are behind a membership paywall, while the content remains as relevant as ever. Here are the publicly available articles published in the latest, May-June 2013, issue:

Creating the World Citizen Parliament
The cover story by Douglas Schuler explores, very seriously and thoughtfully, how interaction designers could create a World Citizen Parliament, a bottom-up, social, and material infrastructure and a vast interconnected network of deliberative assemblies, that helps people better deliberate together to make better decisions.

Steampunking interaction design
In this feature story, Matt Walsh, who works for an advertising agency, writes about the awesome power and potential of tension as a tool for interaction designers.

Harnessing the power of positive tension
Joshua Tanenbaum, Audrey Desjardins and Karen Tanenbaum like to view Steampunk through the lens of what Julian Bleecker and Bruce Sterling have termed design fiction, and believe they have a general relevance to design within the HCI community and for the future of interaction design.

Austin Center for Design
Interview with Jon Kolko on the educational institution in Austin, Texas that teaches interaction design and social entrepreneurship.

There is more in personal heritage than data
Daniela Petrelli explores personal memory and heritage in a time of digital obsolescence.

Interactive systems for health
Gillian Hayes, the new Health Matters forum editor, lays out three ways in which designers, researchers, and practitioners are reconsidering information and evidence within the realm of health IT.

23 April 2013

Plant Wars player patterns: visualization as scaffolding for ethnographic insight

roger-shant-visualization

The latest contribution to Ethnomining, the April 2013 Ethnographymatters edition on combining qualitative and quantitative data, edited by Nicolas Nova, is by Rachel Shadoan and Alicia Dudek who present an interesting case study, based on visualizations, involving an on-line role-playing game.

“We embarked on a study to understand both how the Plant Wars players played and why they played. Visualizing the data generated by the player’s in-game actions provided the map, answering the how and what questions. Interviewing the participants and participating in the game ourselves provided the key to that map, answering the why questions.”

Rachel Shadoan likes to find answers to interesting questions, and build interesting things using those answers. Currently she is answering interesting questions in the Intel Labs using a combination of data visualization, data mining, and ethnographic techniques.

Alicia Dudek is a design ethnographer and user experience consultant. Her passion is finding unusual solutions to the usual problems. Currently, she is finding unusual solutions for Deloitte Digital, where she specializes in engaging stakeholders in research insights through participatory design workshops.

16 April 2013

Book: Hidden in Plain Sight (by Jan Chipchase)

hiddeninplainsight

Hidden in Plain Sight: How to Create Extraordinary Products for Tomorrow’s Customers
by Jan Chipchase
Harper Collins Publishers
April 2013
256 pages
(Amazon link)

A global-innovation expert offers a new perspective on how consumers think and how to develop products and services that affect their everyday lives.

Who are your next customers—not just the ones you are serving today but the ones you’ll need three, five, or ten years from now? How do you figure out what goods and services will attract them in the future before your competitors do?

According to Jan Chipchase—whom Fast Company has called the “James Bond of design research” and Fortune has called the “Indiana Jones of technology for the developing world”—most of the clues are right in front of us. The key is learning to see the ordinary in a revolutionary new way. As the executive creative director of Global Insights at frog, an award-winning global design and innovation company, Chipchase draws on everyday objects and patterns to show us how to see the world differently, from making a phone call to filling up a gas tank to ascertaining whether it’s actually half-and-half you’re pouring into your coffee. Chipchase is always looking for opportunities—gaps, anomalies, and contradictions—that will give his clients, some of the world’s largest and most successful companies, a distinct competitive advantage, whether they’re delivering the most low-tech bar of soap or the most high-tech wireless network.

In Hidden in Plain Sight, Chipchase takes readers on his journeys around the globe and shares his methods for identifying the unmet needs of customers. No matter where he stops—whether Cleveland or Kabul—his goals are the same: to spot and decode the routines of daily life and to help readers use the very same tools that he and his team use to see, and capitalize upon, what is hidden in plain sight today to create businesses tomorrow.

Excerpt
Recent article by Jan Chipchase on Google Glass